Soldiers honoured for bravery

FOUR Essex-based soldiers are among 64 members of the armed forces being honoured for their bravery and service, it has been announced.The men are all members of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, based in Colchester, and are being honoured for their assistance in Iraq.

By Danielle Nuttall

FOUR Essex-based soldiers are among 64 members of the armed forces being honoured for their bravery and service, it has been announced.

The men are all members of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, based in Colchester, and are being honoured for their assistance in Iraq.

Sergeant James Newell is set to receive a Military Cross - the third highest award for bravery - while Lance Corporal Adam Ireland and Private Luke Meyers will be presented with a Mention in Despatches.


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Captain Richard Holmes, who was killed in a car bomb in February, will be awarded posthumous honour, the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS).

Sgt Newell, 33, a father-of-one from Colchester, drove into the centre of deadly firefighting in Al Jamoury in January and returned fire as a patrol climbed into his vehicle.

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He then forced his way through a mile-long running battle, during which he was shot at from three directions, to get the men to safety before turning back and repeating the action.

The Ministry of Defence said Sgt Newell had undoubtedly saved the lives of comrades from his battalion and the Iraqi Police, who were pinned down in the firefight in the volatile district on January 21.

Sgt Newell, who has two brothers who have also served with the Paras, said: “I'm stunned to say the least. I haven't quite got my head round it yet. I keep thinking I've misheard.”

The Commanding Officer of 2 Para, Lieutenant Colonel James Chiswell, said: “Newell displayed exceptional courage and remarkable composure throughout this incident. His steady manner, astute judgement and irrepressible sense of humour inspired and reassured those around him.

“His repeated and premeditated disregard for his personal safety and his total dedication to those on foot undoubtedly saved lives.”

A total of 64 service personnel are to receive honours which also include OBEs, Queen's gallantry Medals and Distinguished Service Orders for service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: “The men and women of our Armed Forces are doing hard and dangerous work every day in operations around the world.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate those honoured today and to thank them. They are a tribute to our Armed Forces and our nation.”

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